The Biden Administration Lays Out its Environmental Reviews and Permitting Goals for the Infrastructure Law
More guidance is expected from the Office of Management and Budget, and the Council on Environmental Quality.
The Biden administration spelled out on Wednesday its goals for environmental review and permitting processes for infrastructure projects.
The new action plan will guide agencies in their implementation of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which President Biden signed into law in November. With this plan, the administration is working to bolster the increased authority of the Interagency Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council that was first established in 2015.
“To make the most of these historic investments and ensure infrastructure projects are delivered on time and on budget, the Biden-Harris administration is releasing a new permitting action plan to strengthen and accelerate federal permitting and environmental reviews by fully leveraging existing permitting authorities, as well as new provisions in the Bipartisan
Infrastructure Law,”a fact sheet from the White House stated. This will lead to “enhanced predictability for project sponsors, and increased accountability across federal agencies to execute efficiently and effectively.”
The main goals are to accelerate the review of permits through collaboration across agencies early on; establish specific goals on a timeline and track project information; engage with Tribal nations, states, territories and local communities; improve agencies’ responsiveness, technical assistance and support for permit applicants, project sponsors and others; giving agencies sufficient resources; and use the environmental review process to improve communities and environmental outcomes.
The Office of Management and Budget, in consultation with the Council on Environmental Quality, will issue guidance within 90 days to agencies on how to carry out the plan’s initiatives.
Also, within 90 days agencies that have environmental review and permitting duties should develop their initial plans on implementing the action plan, which they should finalize within 30 days of OMB and the Council releasing their guidance.
“The action plan is the latest example of the administration taking action to swiftly deliver the benefits of infrastructure investment to the American people through well-designed projects that support the president’s ambitious climate and clean energy goals,” the White House stated.
This action plan follows guidance from OMB released on April 29 outlining how agencies should ensure good stewardship of infrastructure funds.